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Author Notes: Raisins are tiny yet divisive. During my childhood, the love them or hate them discussion generally arose when discussing meatballs. For my Neapolitan grandfather, the ideal version included raisins (and pine nuts), but he rarely convinced my grandmother to prepare them this way. In honor of his preference, I created a raisin bread panzanella, an update to the classic Italian dish.
Before you prepare this recipe, take some time to find the best, crusty raisin bread available. The more common, cinnamon-swirled variety is not what you want to find. Instead, search for a heartier loaf, preferably one made with whole wheat flour, which adds to the texture and flavor. —Thirsty Radish
- 6 cups loosely packed 1-inch cubes of crusty raisin bread
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- to taste salt and pepper
- Spread the bread cubes on a baking tray and drizzle them with olive oil. Lightly toast them in a 275 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes depending on how dry the bread is when you begin.
- Whisk together the olive oil and sherry vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and set vinaigrette aside.
- Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice the red onion into very thin half-moons.
- Once the bread cubes have been removed from the oven and cooled, toss them gently with the tomatoes, red onion, and vinaigrette. Allow the panzanella to sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.